Explainer - Workforce Australia and Points Based Activation System (PBAS)

Workforce Australia

From 4 July 2022, Workforce Australia will replace jobactive, the Australian Government’s employment service.

Workforce Australia and Workforce Australia Online will help all Australians, not just people on income support, to find, keep, and change jobs or create their own job. It will connect businesses with individuals, and provider tailored case management for an individual’s needs.

Workforce Australia will introduce a flexible Points Based Activation System (PBAS) that will be used by all individuals who have mutual obligation requirements, including those in Workforce Australia Online and Workforce Australia Services.

PBAS does not apply to participants who are in Transition to Work, ParentsNext, Disability Employment Services Program or the Community Development Program. If you are a participant of these programs, you will not use PBAS and you will continue to report your job search or activities in the same way that you do now.

Workforce Australia

Workforce Australia will deliver a more flexible and respectful employment service that will help people move into, or towards, secure employment. It will:

  • support eligible individuals to access support online or through services delivered by providers based on their own personal needs
  • help providers assist people who need additional support by redirecting job-ready individuals to online services
  • assist businesses to recruit staff with the right skills to match their needs, ensuring a more efficient recruitment process.

Where an individual is participating in employment services, their current needs and personal circumstances will be assessed by a human interaction and, depending on eligibility, will be connected with a Workforce Australia employment service. For individuals referred to online services they can opt-out to provider services at any point; it is their choice whether they continue to self-manage in online services or choose to receive provider services.

The first time a person lodges an income support claim they must complete a Job Seeker Snapshot, either online or at their Participation Interview with Services Australia. Once an individual has completed their Participation Interview and based on the responses to the Job Seeker Snapshot, they will either attend an initial appointment with a provider or be connected to online services.

Workforce Australia Online

Workforce Australia Online will support job-ready individuals to access online tools, information and training to help them move into employment.

Everyone accessing Workforce Australia Online will be supported by dedicated staff from the Digital Services Contact Centre (DSCC) to help participants who are assessed as job-ready and are referred to Workforce Australia Online Services.

This support is provided toll-free, and will provide answers to people’s concerns, and assistance relevant to each individual’s needs including:

  • information and technical support
  • assistance to tailor their points target and manage their mutual obligation requirements
  • access to education and training and other supports
  • access to financial assistance through the Digital Employment Fund. 

Regular reviews will ensure online servicing remains appropriate and that an individual is making progress towards employment.

Importantly, individuals using online servicing can choose to move to a provider for additional support at any time and for any reason.

Workforce Australia Services

People on income support with mutual obligation requirements who need personalised case management support will be connected to a provider that will tailor support to help get them job-ready.

Providers will guide individuals to manage their participation in Workforce Australia Services, including helping them understand how to use the PBAS to meet their points target each month.

In certain locations there will be specialist providers to deliver personalised services to cohorts including culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), Indigenous Australians, ex-offenders, and refugees.

Points Based Activation System (PBAS)

Starting on 4 July 2022, the Points Based Activation System — or PBAS — will be used by individuals to meet their mutual obligation requirements. PBAS was developed in response to recommendations that a more flexible system was needed that allowed people to have greater choice in meeting their mutual obligation requirements in return for income support.

  • individuals are set a number of points, or a ‘points target’, they need to achieve each monthly reporting period
  • this points target is tailored to consider the individuals’ personal circumstances and their local labour market conditions.

If an individual considers they need to have their points target reviewed they can speak with their provider or dedicated staff in the department’s Digital Services Contact Centre (DSCC). The ability for people to bank points (up to half of their total points target) from one period to another adds additional flexibility.  

Individuals will receive support and assistance from providers or DSCC staff to help understand and meet their mutual obligation requirements. They will also be sent reminders about reporting their participation via notification and SMS or email 15 days before the end of their points reporting period, and again 5 days before the end of their points reporting period.

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High Level Overview of the Points Based Activation System (PBAS)

Individually tailored points target

All participants in Workforce Australia will have their own individually tailored points target that reflects their personal circumstances and their local labour market.

People can have their points target tailored through discussion with their provider or the department’s contact centre. These discussions can occur at any time should someone’s circumstances change.

Participants are required to meet a maximum points target of 100 points each month, including a minimum job search requirement of 5 (a total of 25 points). An individual’s points target can be adjusted each reporting period to recognise their personal circumstances (a credit of up to 40 points) and taking into account their local labour market conditions (a credit of up to 20 points).

Personal circumstances could include consideration of, for example, a person’s work capacity, age, illness, disability, and barriers to employment. Local labour market conditions would reflect the availability of suitable vacancies, access to broader labour markets and available transportation options, for example in a small regional town.

If a provider or the department’s contact centre considers that an individual requires a personal circumstances credit of more than 40 points, the provider can tailor the points target further to ensure it is suitable and appropriately reflects a person's circumstances.

Providers or the department’s contact centre can also adjust the participant’s minimum job search requirement, at any stage, based on the participant’s circumstances.

If someone cannot meet their points target, they will be able to contact their provider or the department’s contact centre, who will check to ensure that the individual’s points target is appropriately tailored to their circumstances and can adjust, as required.

Can the points target be set to zero?

Providers may apply credits to reduce both the points target and the minimum job search requirement to zero for individuals who:

  • attend full-time residential or intensive drug and alcohol treatment or rehabilitation
  • undertake a Defence Force Reserves training camp
  • relocate for a job
  • are Early School Leavers (ESLs) undertaking sufficient hours of study, or study and paid work, to meet ESL requirements.

What tasks and activities contribute to the points target?

Individuals will have flexibility and choice in deciding what tasks and activities they complete to earn points, recognising that there is no one-size-fits all pathway to employment.

Under PBAS, the tasks and activities people can do include job searches, interviews, commencing a job, doing paid work, study and training, or participating in a variety of activities.

Each task and activity has a points value. The values are based on the level of engagement and commitment required to complete the task or activity, and the strength of the link to employment, with more intensive activities attracting higher points.

Individuals will earn points towards their target by reporting the completion of tasks and activities by using the Workforce Australia website or app. Where someone cannot self-manage their own reporting requirements, their provider will do it for them.

Please refer to the list of the tasks and activity options available for information regarding specific points values.

How does this compare to the current jobactive program?

Under Workforce Australia the PBAS will provide greater flexibility and diversity of choice for people to meet their mutual obligation requirements.

The current jobactive system requires people to do up to 20 job searches per month and does not recognise the wide range of other tasks and activities that people can do to become job-ready and get a job.

Under Workforce Australia PBAS will also recognise job interviews, obtaining a driver’s license, volunteering, online learning modules, as well as a range of other task and activity options.

How are these changes being communicated?

Prior to 4 July the department is sending advice to individuals directly impacted by the changes to employment services. This advice includes a Transition to Workforce Australia website for further information, a factsheet on the changes to mutual obligation requirements, and a contact number 1300 854 414 individuals can call for support.

All individuals impacted will receive this advice via their jobactive inbox before Workforce Australia starts on 4 July 2022.

Guidance will be provided to individuals to support them in how to report their points including through the publication of IT task cards and videos. A webinar introducing the PBAS has also been made available.

People will receive support from both the department’s contact centre staff and their providers to ensure a smooth transition. The department’s contact centre has been resourced to respond to calls and emails from individuals and business. This includes support to those connected to providers as well as individuals in the online service.

The Targeted Compliance Framework and PBAS

Consequences under the Targeted Compliance Framework will apply where participants do not meet their requirements without a valid reason - including meeting their monthly points target. 

However, to support participants during transition, if a participant does not meet their points target in their first reporting period in Workforce Australia, compliance action will not be raised, nor will payment suspension. 

In the following reporting period, if a participant misses their points requirement again, they will be notified and will have two business days to contact their provider, or the DSCC for participants in the online service, to discuss, and if required, re-engage before their payment is impacted. In this instance they will be offered simplified re-engagement to confirm their understanding of their points requirements. For subsequent failures participants may need to make up the points they missed to avoid or restore payment suspension. 

Importantly, the Targeted Compliance Framework also includes two review points - Capability Interviews (conducted by providers or staff in the DSCC for participants in the online service) and Capability Assessments (conducted by Services Australia staff) to ensure participants’ requirements are appropriate.

Consultation and Trials

There has been extensive consultation and user-testing on the design and operation of the PBAS (including the points values for tasks and activities) with participants, New Employment Services Trial (NEST) and jobactive providers, peak bodies, community groups, and other interested stakeholders.

The PBAS has been trialled in the NEST regions of Adelaide South and the New South Wales Mid North Coast since December 2020. Feedback and on-the-ground experience throughout this trial has helped inform and refine the final design of the PBAS under Workforce Australia.

The department will monitor the implementation of PBAS and can adjust points values if required.

Further information

 

Collection of information and fact sheets on Workforce Australia

Transition to Workforce Australia

 

Participant factsheet included in transition advice

Information about your points target (jobsearch.gov.au)

 

Points values factsheet

Points values for tasks and activities in the Points Based Activation System (jobsearch.gov.au)

 

Copy of PBAS webinar – PowerPoint presentation

DESE Workforce Australia webpage

Correct at time of publication.